Nicholas Walker is an accomplished musician who brings a broad range of training and experience to the string bass: classical and jazz, modern and baroque, solo recitals and chamber ensembles, his enthusiasm and aptitude transcend arbitrary musical boundaries.
Now finishing his DMA in Early Music at Stony Brook University, Walker studied with Paul Ellison at the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University where he received a BMA in 1994. As a Fulbright Scholar (1994-95) he trained with the pioneering maestro of the string bass, François Rabbath at the Nadia Boulanger Conservatoire in Paris. His research focused on pedagogical components of Rabbath’s “Nouvelle Technique de la Contrabasse”, and adapting Rabbath’s technique and repertoire for the American Jazz and Latin music traditions.
An inventive composer, Walker features the string bass in chamber music and improvisational contexts. In 1998 the International Society of Bassists awarded him Grand Prize for his composition, EADG for Solo Bass . Recent commissions include Little Newt for the Charlottesville Chamber Music Festival, a sextet, Magnus Caligus for Ardesco, and Pop Song for String Bass and String Orchestra for the American String Teachers Association, which Walker will premier with the University of South Carolina Orchestra this fall.
Walker has apprenticed with two master mentors: 13 years with François Rabbath, and three years touring with swing era saxophone legend Illinois Jacquet. Walker’s exuberant and versatile performances on string bass have made him a sought after performer. He has recorded with Juan Pablo Torres, Blossom Dearie, Anny Gould, Paquito D’Rivera, and others. During the late 1990s Walker served as music director and band leader of Bateaux New York, and also played with a diverse range of New York musicians and artists, including dancers and filmmakers. Today he is especially excited about developing a new jazz trio with saxophonist Lars Jacobson called The Biased Media.
As a teacher, Walker demonstrates the art of playing the broadest sense: he shows the full capacity of the instrument, and guides students to new levels in the traditional repertoire as well as in the art of improvisation and creative collaboration. Walker has been on the faculty at the National Bass Workshop in Adelaide, Australia; the Domain Forget Music Festival, Quebec; at the Rabbath Institute, Washington, D.C.; and he has lectured for both the International Society of Bassists, and for the American String Teachers Association/National String Orchestra Association.
Presently Walker is on the faculty of the Stony Brook Pre-College program, and he freelances and teaches in and around New York. He enjoys an active lifestyle performing solo recitals, ‘performance practice’ concerts with the Stony Baroque Players, and a rewarding collaboration with Ardesco, and The Transfiguration Ensemble, a chamber music collective devoted to exposing recondite musical treasures of another age. A new bluegrass crossover recording by Stolen Shack was recently featured on NPR’s All Songs Considered .